Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Blacklist Compensation Scheme

EVERYONE will have seen the announcement of a potential blacklisting compensation scheme by now. Blacklisted workers up and down the country managed to get on the radio, TV and in the papers - great work everyone. There have been lots of conversations by phone, email and face to face in the last few days and this email is designed to keep everyone up to date with the latest developments.
It is clearly a combination of the legal, political and industrial pressure that has brought about the announcement. Potential losses of public sector contracts running into billions, the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation, the Crossrail victory, unrelenting media coverage and the legal claims have got us where we are. A final outcome is still a long way off but everyone who has participated in the campaign so far in whatever capacity should be very proud.
Without a doubt, the defining issue that brought the companies to this point is the High Court claim being brought by Guney Clark and Ryan solicitors which is due in court on Friday 29th November. Blacklist Support Group (BSG) is proud to be supporting the High Court claim by Guney Clark and Ryan (GCR) which has been prepared without a single penny of payment from anyone since the blacklisting files were first released in 2009. GCR has stood by us from the start and no compensation scheme would even be on the agenda without the work they have done. GCR deserve our unflinching support.
Less than 450 blacklist files have actually been released by the ICO. Therefore the GCR claimants and the BSG represent a very significant proportion of all those with blacklist files and the GCR High Court claim is also the only claim actually "live" in the court at the moment. This gives us a very strong bargaining position.
Everyone who has spoken to me over the last few days wants to carry on to the High Court in order to fully expose everyone and every organisation that was involved in the blacklisting. However, it is very likely that the firms will make an application for the High Court action to be "stayed" (put on hold) while any negotiations about the compensation scheme take place.
Let me make this crystal clear: regardless of what the what any union may say during the talks, no compensation scheme can be signed off without the agreement of GCR and BSG. And our only concern is to get the best possible settlement for blacklisted workers and fight to fully expose the conspiracy. Without our agreement, there will be no deal. And BSG will not agree to anything without fully consulting every blacklisted worker involved with the campaign. We will send out regular updates and if needed call a national meeting to discuss.
Despite announcing the proposals in the press, no-one from the compensation scheme has so far contacted the Blacklist Support Group to discuss the issue but we will be part of the talks soon enough. From the discussions that have taken place in the past few days amongst ourselves, the following items have been raised:
  • Every individual on the blacklist should be compensated regardless of circumstances
  • If a blacklisted worker has died - then their widows or children should be entitled to compensation
  • No gagging clause - we still want a public inquiry
  • A matrix should be used to calculate compensation based upon multiple factors (rather than a schedule of financial loss, which is virtually impossible to calculate over so many years)
  • Guaranteed jobs for blacklisted workers on major projects
This is our starting point. If we stick together, the chances of negotiating a better deal massively improve. If after negotiations, no deal is good enough, then we will be going back to the High Court. If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to add you comments
I will be sending out a separate update on the police collusion, the human rights EAT hearing and the Crossrail victory party tomorrow
Some press: 
Blacklist Support Group

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